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Bid for City to Take Over Fire Services Snuffed

The City Council, more than happy with job being done by the county, sees no need to reestablish own department. Negotiations for new contract will continue.


The City Council voted 4 to 1 Monday against hiring a consulting firm to study reestablishing the city's fire and paramedic service instead of continuing to contract with the Orange County Fire Authority.

The proposal was introduced by Councilman Mike Doyle, who said the plan would give the city more control, provide quicker service and could save $4 million over 10 years.

"I'm not saying the Orange County Fire Authority is not doing a good job," Doyle said. "I'm just looking for a bigger bang for the buck for my citizens."

The Fire Authority comprises 21 cities and the unincorporated areas of the county, which pay for fire and paramedic service through property taxes.

The council voted unanimously in December to negotiate with the Fire Authority to extend fire protection and paramedic services for the next decade. The city now pays $3.7 million a year. Under the contract being negotiated, the cost could rise no more than 3.5% for each of the next five years and no more than 4% during each of the last five years.

Council members said they didn't want to hire a consulting firm for $8,500 because the current service is more than adequate.

"I think if you want to put together a proposal, [go ahead and do it], but I don't want to pay for it," Councilman Jeffery M. Thomas said. "I think what we have really works."

Fire Authority Chief Chip Prather said 75% of the firefighters who serve Tustin have more than 10 years' experience in the city.

"They are invested in this community, and that translates to good service. We've proudly served Tustin for 20 years, since 1978, and will be proud to continue."

Marissa Espino can be reached at (714) 966-5879.

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